By Ruth Ogden
(Mrs. Charles W. Ide)
Author Of “A Loyal Little Red-Coat” “A Little Queen Of Hearts” “His Little Royal Highness” “Courage” etc.
With Numerous Original Illustrations By Mabel Humphrey
New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company
ONE MOMENT PLEASE.
In a way, this book, “Little Homespun,” is a story quite by itself. In another way it is a sequel to “Courage,” although you can “catch its thread” without having read a line of “Courage.” Now some grown people, and I presume some children, do not care for sequels at all, but I happen to know that the children who are good enough to read and care for my stories are fond of sequels. Those who have taken the trouble to write me, in little letters that are worth their weight in gold many times over, almost invariably ask for another book about the same people. Sometimes they tell me just what to put into the new story and what name to give it. So here lies my excuse if one is needed for writing “Little Homespun.” Besides, I could hardly help it, for there seemed to be quite a little yet to tell about Courage and Sylvia, and some new little friends of theirs. And one thing more—everything in this story that has to do with real people or actual events is absolutely true; a little book, named “Historic Arlington,” giving most of the information needed. Even old black Joe has his counterpart in Wesley Morris, one of the slaves of Mr. Custis, born on the estate, and employed for many years following the war as a workman about the grounds at Arlington.
Sept. 1, 1897.
CHAPTER I.—TWO OLD CRONIES
JUNE morning, clear and cool as October, and everything far and near fairly revelling in the early summer sunshine. The Potomac, blue as the sky above it, sparkling and dancing, the new young leaves on the oak trees shimmering and shining with the marvellous green of springtime, and the dear old Virginia homestead, overhanging the river, never looking 002more homelike and attractive in all its quiet life. The reason for this did not lie all in the sunshine either. Just outside the door, on the wide gallery, a darling old lady sat knitting, for as darling means “dearly beloved,” no other word could so truly describe her. Everybody worshipped her and regarded her—as well they might—with unspeakable devotion; for darling old ladies, as you very well know, do not grow on every bush—quite to the contrary—a great many old ladies (bless their tired old hearts!) grow fretful and nervous and fussy, and are hard to please, not to say cranky. But who would blame them for this for a minute? Just as likely as not you and I will be cranky enough ourselves, when we have borne the burden of fourscore years, and are pretty well worn out in mind and spirit and body. But here was an old lady who was not worn out. Her hair was white with “the incomparable whiteness of aged hair,” and there were the indelible marks of age on the sweet, earnest face, but this dear old lady was “sunny.” She had had her own full share of sorrows and worries, and she had taken them all very much to heart—as people must whose hearts are big enough to take things to at all—and as tender as hearts really ought to be. But somehow or other, she had learned the 003secret of not being overcome by the worries and the sorrows, and so, sitting there knitting that peerless June morning, she and the sunshine together seemed to glorify everything about them.
Presently a little specimen appeared in the doorway; a handsome little fellow too, though he did not have any curls, as most children do who find their way into story books, but his hair was golden, and, though cut quite short, as he insisted upon having it, had a little trick of straying down on his forehead in quite irresistible fashion.
“Well, what are we going to do to-day?” said his grandmother, gazing at him as fondly as only fond grandmothers can. In response